Wayne Morgan and his Iowa State Cyclones (10-3) came away with a hard-fought victory tonight (59-51) over Tennessee State (2-5) in their last non-conference game before taking on Kansas State on January 7th.
This was a game that started out sluggish and really ended that way. The
Tigers jumped out to a 12-2 lead because of turnovers and an inability to get
some stops on the defensive end. The Cyclones regrouped and pulled together to
take a 34-23 lead into halftime but were only able to score 4 team points in the
first eight minutes of the second half. Iowa State built a 13 point lead after a
John Neal 3-point bucket with seven minutes to play and it looked like the
Cyclones had delivered the knock out punch. Tennessee State roared back with an
8-0 run of their own to cut the Iowa State lead to 51-46 with 5:33 left to play.
Tennessee State fought hard and had Iowa State up against the ropes when they cut the lead to 54-51 with 1:37 left in the game but Rahshon Clark nailed a 3- point basket with 3 seconds left on the shot clock to, in all reality, put the game away. The Cyclones captured a 59-51 win over a team that seems to always be in the same position in many of their games. "What happened to them (Tennessee State) tonight seems to be happening to them over and over again," said coach Morgan. "They had Ohio State at Ohio State on the ropes, they ended up losing to them by eight, and they've done that two or three times. I know when those guys get into their own conference they're gonna win a lot of games."
Iowa State relied on some of their other guys and some key players that had not played a big role earlier as Rahshon Clark led the team with 14 points and Jessan Gray added 7 points off the bench. Curtis Stinson and Will Blalock added 10 points each. Those two did show the leadership down the stretch that the Cyclones will need coming into Big 12 play.
This was a game that the Cyclones might not have won earlier in the year. The
inability to close out games before, that ended in losses, was key tonight. The
Cyclones showed that they have learned from those losses and are ready for Big